David Cameron entertained parliament with a series of farewell quips on Wednesday in his last appearance as prime minister before making way for Theresa May to lead the monumental task of extricating Britain from the EU.
“This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.
“Other than one meeting this afternoon with Her Majesty the Queen, the diary for the rest of my day is remarkably light,’’ Mr. Cameron said to roars of laughter in a packed House of Commons.
He was due to present his resignation to the queen at Buckingham Palace at around 1600 GMT.
Then May will pay her own visit to the monarch to be formally entrusted with the job, before entering 10 Downing Street to become Britain’s second woman prime minister after Margaret Thatcher.
Mr. Cameron stepped down after Britons rejected his entreaties and voted in a June 23 referendum to quit the EU, weakening the 28-nation bloc and creating huge economic uncertainty.
Apart from the task of executing ‘Brexit’, May must try to unite a divided party and a nation in which many, on the evidence of the vote, feel angry with the political elite.
There was an atmosphere of hilarity in parliament as Cameron traded humorous jabs with beleaguered opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in spite of the serious backdrop.
“I am beginning to admire his tenacity; he is reminding me of the black knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail.
“He has been kicked so many times but he says ‘Keep going, it is only a flesh wound, I admire that,’’ Cameron said.
He took the opportunity to trumpet his government’s achievements in generating one of the fastest growth rates among western economies, chopping the budget deficit, creating 2.5 million jobs and legalising gay marriage.
However his legacy would be overshadowed by his failed referendum gamble, which he had hoped would keep Britain at the heart of a reformed EU.